Here is an awesome essay regarding the fallacy of trusting polls and their use as a strategy for sheeple herding. Entitled, “The Left’s Big Blunder,” it is both encouraging and seriously thought provoking; starting with:
Two campaigns are being waged right now for the presidency of the United States. No, I’m not talking about the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign. I’m talking about the real-world campaign and the meta-campaign.
The real-world campaign involves speeches and proposals and facts and scandals and political positions and news events. These details, however, are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and have become subsumed by the meta-campaign, which consists of perceptions, polls, reactions, analyses and summations. Until very recently, elections were decided by real-world facts — but not anymore. Facts and events in and of themselves are no longer important; what’s important is how everyone reacts to them. And how do we find out the public’s mood concerning this or that incident? Why, the media tells us, that’s how.
Or so we’ve been led to believe.
We’re all part of the campaign now. Every single one of us. Our opinions, our actions, are bundled together as a group and used as weapons in the race for the White House. When the media reports on what people think, either through public-opinion polling or reportage about anecdotal incidents, it becomes an endless feedback loop, in which the media’s representation of most people’s purported thoughts is supposed to influence everyone else’s thoughts. And then they take another poll to determine how effective the first poll was in influencing public opinion, and the cycle starts all over again. Since everyone now knows that any public expression of their political opinions might be reported by the media, even the most innocent activity becomes a calculated campaign action. Saying how you intend to vote is not simply an expression of how you intend to vote, but rather a component of the public barometer of how the majority intends to vote, which is then used by the media and the blogs to influence everyone else. Nothing is done in all innocence anymore.
Thinkers should definitely take the time to read the whole thing. I have bookmarked it for future reference. It covers the “Clever Hans Effect” and particularly the “Solomon Asch Experiments” extremely well (do watch the video). He then makes a credible case that, while the Bradley Effect is said to have dissipated over time, the focus on race in this election and the deliberate charges of racism toward all who speak against the Obamessiah, will have brought it back:
The situation is even more extreme in social interactions in liberal areas, where in casual conversation the race card is played almost continuously. I live in the San Francisco area, in an artsy/intellectual/academic circle, and never once have I heard anyone professing support for McCain. If your boss mocks McCain supporters, if all your co-workers express a desire to for Palin to be raped on national TV, if your family are all Obama volunteers, if the media tries to shame everybody into voting for Obama by stating implicitly and explicitly that only a racist would do otherwise, could you have the nerve to come out of the closet as a McCain voter?
In such an environment, where admitting to disliking Obama in the interpersonal sphere has become the equivalent of social suicide, it seems very likely that the Bradley Effect is not just back, but back with a vengeance. The more that Obama supporters go unchallenged in their blanket accusations of racism against McCain supporters, the less likely anyone will publicly admit to dislike of Obama. Hence, the Bradley Effect is not an artifact of racism, but rather an artifact of false accusations of racism.
So, when the phone rings and the pollster calls — and your Clever Hans social antennae tell you the pollster is young and liberal and likely an Obama supporter — would you have the nerve to tell the pollster the truth that you wouldn’t vote for Obama in a million years? I mean, they called you; they know your number. They know who you are. Can you be absolutely sure they aren’t putting a check mark in the “Racist” box next to your name in some mysterious database?
I must agree with his logic here. I have been surprised by a number of Lefty associates who will admit their concerns over Obama’s underpinnings to me, but wouldn’t dare mention them to their peers. I suspect the PUMAs (still angry Clinton supporters) are far more numerous than anyone dreams. I have spent time on their blogs and they are serious about their stealth campaign. Some even admit deliberately lying to polsters. He concludes with:
Now, it could very well be that, after all is said and done, Obama will indeed win this election — I can’t predict the future any better than can anyone else. The Obama campaign and its supporters are also engaging in many other strategies (unrelated to the exaggeration of his popularity) that have likely been effective — such as blanketing the airwaves with advertisements, disparaging McCain, insulting Palin, and so on. The unabashed and unapologetic Obama boosterism from the traditional media certainly isn’t hurting either. In prior elections, candidates worried about an “October Surprise,” some last-minute revelation or scandal that threatens to realign the entire race. But in 2008, two or three October Surprises seem to be cropping up every single day, and there’s no reliable way to predict what will happen next (other than that the media will try to emphasize the anti-McCain news and downplay the anti-Obama news). And it may be that less than 50% of the population was ever interested in voting for McCain in the first place, and that an Obama victory was a foregone conclusion long before the campaign even began; I simply don’t know. However, if Obama does win, it will be IN SPITE OF the counter-productive antics of his supporters, not because of them. I feel that all the exaggerations and bias polling and online poll-stuffing and comment-spamming have only served to increase a desperate come-from-behind energy in the McCain campaign, and induce a sense of complacency and inevitable victory among rank-and-file Obama voters. However: If McCain wins, then Obama’s supporters will only have themselves to blame.
Will the exaggerations become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as assumed, or are Obama supporters spinning further and further away from reality, constructing one unsupportable exaggeration on top of another — only to be stunned on election day when the actual results, once again, don’t match either their pre-vote opinion polling or their post-vote exit polling?
Yet it may very well be that an army of glum, dispirited and pessimistic conservatives will reluctantly trudge to the polls on November 4, each one imagining they are the only remaining person in the entire country voting for McCain, and lo and behold — they’ll turn out to be a silent majority after all.
Now, there is some hope for a change I could believe in. ◄Dave►